Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Statuette of Aphrodite Standing
Work Type
sculpture, statuette
c. 100-50 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Rhodes
Hellenistic period, Late, to Early Roman Imperial
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Crystalline Parian marble
27 x 10 x 7 cm (10 5/8 x 3 15/16 x 2 3/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Rowland, Jr.
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990

Statuette of Aphrodite Standing

The head and neck, left shoulder including most of the breast, and legs below the knees are missing. The raised right arm was attached with a dowel at the right shoulder. The surfaces have dents and abrasions, and there is weathering that has brought out the crystalline structure of the marble. Much of the back from waist to upper thighs is cut away. The back is carved in a flat profile to begin with. Supports and/or attributes joined the outer legs along the thighs.

There are many variations of this small figure of Aphrodite who was probably raising her arms to wring out her tresses. Sometimes these figures, which are associated with the art of Alexandria and do turn up in considerable numbers in Egypt, as well as Asia Minor, have drapery around the lower limbs, as if her cloak had slipped down by accident or in connection with a bath. An example in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, demonstrates this (Poulsen, 1951, p. 603, no. 868, pl. XVI). Variations of Aphrodite Anadyomene are collected and discussed by Brinkerhoff (Brinkerhoff, 1978, pp. 170-177), perhaps as a late Hellenistic, classicizing creation originating in or around the island of Rhodes and soon spreading to the statuette workshops of Alexandria in Egypt. Some have tried to suggest that the half-draped type is a century earlier than the nude Anadyomene, the former going back to the period around 250 BC, while the latter belongs to the beginning of the late Pergamene period or Hellenistic rococo. Others reverse the sequence and put the unclothed Aphrodite emerging from the sea back in the workshop of Lysippos's disciples such as Eutychides, about 280 BC. (Brinkerhoff, 1978, pp. 170-177; Budde, Nicholls, 1964, pp. 53-54, under nos. 85, 86, pl. 27, both from Egypt; Comstock, Vermeule, 1976, p. 116, under no. 178 A).

The late Hellenistic and Greek imperial worlds played with and produced numerous variations of the type, not only in attributes and minor details of pose but in such mechanical tours de force as mirror reversal. Indeed, a larger counterpart, identical in style but with everything reversed, was found in Sardis (Hanfmann, Ramage, 1978, p. 107, no. 111, fig. 237). A more vertical, more static version of Aphrodite holding her hair in her right hand and an alabastron in the left (therefore with the left shoulder level with the right instead of lowered, as in the Rowland torso) was found in a villa near Narbonne in France and has been dated in the Constantinian age, pushing the subject to the end of pagan antiquity (Brinkeroff, 1970, p. 36, fig. 47).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

Fogg Art Museum Acquisitions, 1968, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1969), pp. 121, illus., 153

Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 54, no. 37

Exhibition History

Ancient Installation at Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, 09/30/2013 - 01/26/2015

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at